Books I Read in Febuary 2014

May Shout-Outs for the books I read in February…

(I may seem pretty behind in these, but waiting a while gives me some perspective. If I can’t remember what the book was about, that’s a point in and of itself.)

Wolf Creek Alpha and Wolf Creek Enforcer by Jo Ellen (click on the picture to head over to Amazon)

Technically I read Wolf Creek Alpha in 2013, but I haven’t posted about it, so I’m including it here. Jo Ellen has created a fantastic world that includes a werewolf pack, faeries, witches, and probably some other non-humans that I’m forgetting at the moment. Oh, and there’s a castle and a magic pond. Mostly there is a HOT HOT HOT group of alphas that you will love meeting.  I’ve never liked werewolf books that go into graphic detail about the shifting (bones and sinew – ewww!!), and this one doesn’t. Boom it’s done.  I’m anxiously awaiting the third book about the third brother… (impatiently taps foot)

 

Twist Me by Anna Zaires is a dark erotic new adult novel not for the faint of heart. It’s in first person, which I usually don’t like. Here’s the Amazon description:

Kidnapped. Taken to a private island. I never thought this could happen to me. I never imagined one chance meeting on the eve of my eighteenth birthday could change my life so completely. Now I belong to him. To Julian. To a man who is as ruthless as he is beautiful—a man whose touch makes me burn. A man whose tenderness I find more devastating than his cruelty. My captor is an enigma. I don’t know who he is or why he took me. There is a darkness inside him—a darkness that scares me even as it draws me in. My name is Nora Leston, and this is my story.

Stockholm syndrome much? It makes no bones about what it is, so if you find such things upsetting or degrading, don’t check this one out. It’s well done, with a substantial story line. It’s staunchly in the vein of new adult, with a young female protagonist and older, wealthy male (anti)hero.

And now for something completely different, I read Never Ending Dance, by G. Jean Smith.

If you had the gene marker for Huntington’s, would you want to know?

The blurb from Amazon: What If You Were Destined To Dance Till Death? Catherine Cannon has spent her life keeping secrets and trying to outrun her past. Speaking about her past, about her family, is taboo and she has only shared her life with her closest childhood friend. But when Catherine reaches a milestone, she willingly places herself in a situation where she is faced with having to talk in-depth with a psychologist. It’s the only way she can confront her past head on as she seeks the answer to one question – does she carry the defective gene that causes Huntington’s disease?

A gritty, dark look at living with Huntington’s disease, poverty, and pain, the humor fused throughout makes Never Ending Dance an emotional rollercoaster ride. Catherine Cannon’s struggles, triumphs and sheer will to survive will have readers cheering her on until the bitter end.

This one is definitely a roller coaster ride. Ms. Smith does a great job of getting you to feel the angst that Catherine is experiencing. I almost didn’t read it because I thought it would be too depressing, but that wasn’t the case. I’m really glad I gave it a chance. Strongly in the court of women’s fiction, there’s a hint of romance, but it’s not the focus of the book. Loved it!

Following Your Heart by Cheryl Persons was a sweet new adult style romance that didn’t disappoint.

From Amazon: It had been 10 years since Cassie and Seth said their goodbyes. They had both moved on and were leading happy lives, or were they? When Cassie finds herself back in Texas, everything changes. Cassie remembers the love that she once had and surprisingly finds herself longing for it again. Is it too late, or does her heart have other plans?

Second chances and the one who got away… This book stares regret in the eye and doesn’t back down. Life isn’t always simple, and the choices we make aren’t always easy.

 

A Couple of Kids’ Books

To keep my daughter happy, I have to mention the two books that I bought for her that she devoured (read is too tame a description of what she does to these books)

Once Upon an Island and Lost in Lion Country by D.M. Potter are both interactive books that let the readers choose which direction the plot is going. My 11-year old daughter loves these. She will keep reading them until she has read every option and chased every link.

 

So for the year, counting 1.5 in January (we’ll round down), and 4 in February (remember Wolf Creek Alpha was 2013), my count as of February is at 5. What do all of these books have in common? They are all indie-published. Want to revisit my January books? Look here

 

Update on my writing progress:

I have sent chapters 1-18 out of 29 to my editor. I’m feeling good about the book, but it’s not there yet. I’m looking at each chapter and making sure the scenes have the level of detail I need, that they are well developed and that they each give you a reason to keep reading. It’s over 90,000 words, and that’s long compared to my first book, which came in at 76,000 words. I promise a preview soon.

 

Books I Read in January 2014

I’ve been meaning to do these monthly posts, but the months have gotten away from me. So here is January and expect February soon.

January was a light reading month for me. I finally picked up Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I had never read, and it’s a big one, coming in at 896 pages according to its Amazon page. Then I stuck my toe into serial fiction, but that didn’t quite go as well.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon –

Have you ever had a book that too many people told you it was good, so you refuse to read it because you didn’t think it could be THAT good? That’s how I felt about Outlander. I look time travel romance, but the book description put me off. How could you have two love interests? I failed to realize that Outlander started a whole sub-genre.

Time travel is a familiar trope, and reading one is usually like settling into a favorite sweater. This book pushes the romance genre to its edge and back. Women’s rights  have come a long way since 1743, and many books time travel back to this era. However, often when they do, we find that amazingly enough, the male characters have modern sensibilities when it comes to women. This book doesn’t do that.

Time travel, whether through a magic stone, potion, or an existing portal,  is always complicated, but the trope usually goes like this: a young woman, not well established in life, travels back in time, falls in love, and stays with her new life. But what if she is leaving behind a life she was happy with? What if she happened to be already married and happy with her husband? If she falls in love with another man while she is in the past, is it adultery? Very few authors have the guts to go there. Diana Gabaldon went there. Well done. I don’ t think I gave too much away here, but if you haven’t read it yet, do it. Although I think I’m the last person who reads time-travel romance who hasn’t read this one. You can find an Amazon buy link in my store.

 

Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt, David Wright – I hate to admit that I did not finish this one. The book was billed as similar to LOST, which it may be, but I couldn’t get far enough to tell.

The thing about LOST (which people who say their thing is like LOST forgets) is that the island started out fairly normal. Sure, we saw a polar bear, and there were some strange things, but nothing that could be defined as paranormal or alien happened until after season one. By the time the weird stuff really started, generally viewers cared about the characters and stuck around. I didn’t care about any of these characters.

This book tries to be similar to The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic book, which has multiple groups all over the country that eventually come together. The authors may eventually get these groups together, but I couldn’t stay with it long enough to tell. There were too many different character groups, and I couldn’t remember which was which. The writing itself was well-edited and there weren’t any issues there, but the jumping around between different threads was too much for me.

On to February. Book count for the year: 1.5

I’m going by the purchases on my Kindle for my official count for the year.

Writing update: I m sending Under His Protection to my editor a chapter at a time, and I’ve send ten chapters so far. I’m still hoping for a May release date. No Strings Attached is now available on the Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes bookstore if you don’t do Kindle.